D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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J.D. Power and Associates conducts annual consumer satisfaction studies.
J.D. Power and Associates conducts annual consumer satisfaction studies. (image by jdpower.com)

J.D. Power and Associates, a global information services company that conducts customer satisfaction research in a number of different areas, has released its 2011 Auto Insurance Rankings.

The rankings are based on customer experience and satisfaction rated in five separate areas: customer interactions with the insurer; price of auto insurance premiums; types of insurance policies offered; policy billing and payment; and policy claims. Insurance providers are rated on a 1,000 point scale. Overall customer satisfaction with car insurance was up this year.

The top 10 auto insurance companies, according to J.D. Power’s U.S. Auto Insurance Study are:

  1. Amica Mutual
  2. Erie Insurance
  3. Shelter Insurance
  4. Auto-Owners Insurance
  5. Ameriprise
  6. State Farm
  7. Geico
  8. State Auto Insurance
  9. American Family Insurance
  10. Alfa Insurance

While Amica Mutual is the only included company to score near perfect ratings in customer satisfaction in the JD Power study, two other auto insurers, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. and the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) also scored extremely high ratings, but are not included in the survey due to their restricted memberships. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance is only open to New Jersey Business & Industry Association members, State of New Jersey employees, and current or previous policyholders. USAA insurance is open only to U.S. military personnel and their families.

One of the key findings from this year’s J.D. Power study is that those who only obtain car insurance from an insurer are now as satisfied as those who bundle multiple types of coverage with insurers, such as auto coverage and homeowners insurance. In previous years, customers who had bundled policies tended to be more satisfied than car insurance-only customers.

While customers may not be as prone to being satisfied by bundling discounts, newer forms of discounts such as accident forgiveness, loyalty discounts, or discounts for vehicle safety features showed significant boosts to the scores of insurers that offer them. More affordable rates translates to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Most major insurers offer a variety of discounts, so make sure to discuss your options with your auto insurance company.

Hands down, customer satisfaction is based mainly on how and where customers interact with their auto insurance provider. More than 80 of customers are now conducting business with their insurers online, and the most satisfied are those who have technologies such as email or smartphone applications available for interactions with their auto insurer.

When evaluating auto insurance companies, it’s wise to do research with a variety of organizations. In addition to J.D. Power & Associates, Consumer Reports and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) both evaluate customer service and satisfaction. The BBB lists customer complaints on its website, and it’s worth checking these out, especially for comments about how a provider handles claim servicing. An A.M. Best financial strength rating can tell you how stable an insurance carrier is, particularly when measured against the ratings of other companies in the auto insurance industry.